Whether you own a commercial or residential property, there are a lot of good reasons to schedule a fall clean up. In fact, it might be one of the best things you can do for your yard or green space. We have three generations worth of experience working in southeast Calgary, and can attest to how well a good fall clean up will set your property up for great growth in the spring. Here are a few good reasons to schedule now.
A Good Raking Reduces Pests
Bugs and pests love the moisture found in habitats created by fallen leaves and branches, which are also great places to lay eggs. That’s why a thorough raking of beds and lawns is the first job we will perform for your fall clean up. The number one reason to clear out leaves and lawn debris in the fall is to reduce the occurrence of invasive garden pests, not only for your sake, but also for everyone else’s. The more people do to keep bugs down, the better for everyone.
A Fall Clean-Up Helps to Avoid Snow Mould
Thick snow cover combined with the decay of rotting leaves becomes an insulating blanket, perfect for the growth of snow mould. Without a good raking to get rid of thatch accumulated through the summer, dead leaves, and twigs and branches lying about on the lawn, when the weather (finally) begins to warm up, this organic waste provides the ultimate growing conditions for mould spores. Last year was particularly bad for snow mould in Calgary for two reasons. First, the early winter meant many hasn’t completed their fall clean up. Second, the unusually large amounts of snow, plus lack of Chinooks, meant the ground took a long time to melt and dry out.
Snow mould doesn’t grow on top of grass, but underneath it. It appears as either grey or pink, looking something like multiple circular spider webs laying upon the ground, and thrives between the temperatures of zero to seven degrees Celsius and in moist conditions.
Fall Fertilizing Best Practices
The next two months are a great chance to add nutrients and carbohydrate mass to the roots of your lawn. The shortening days and cooler evenings of early autumn tell the grass to go into “recovery mode,” which is what dormancy in grasses is all about. Growth is not the priority, so new shoots and chlorophyll are not naturally produced. Give your grass a kick of nitrogen and phosphorous to promote blade and root growth in the spring.
Watering in Fall
It’s always important to water a couple days after fertilizing. And we do recommend fertilizing your entire green space, including your gardens, shrubs and trees, in the fall. But above and beyond that, even though your plants are entering dormancy, it’s still a good idea to keep applying water periodically until temperatures begin to drop below 5 degrees Celsius consistently. In the fall it is always dry in Calgary, which can lead to weakened root systems. A bad winter and late spring will seriously jeopardize growth possibilities. Fall is the one season where watering at midday is best, as the ground is warmer, giving moisture a better chance to sink in before the cool of the evening sets in.
Once your trees and shrubs have gone dormant (all of their leaves have fallen off) it is safe to prune. Trimming in the fall will allow nutrients to reach the tips of branches faster in the spring, encouraging new growth and supporting old growth.
Generally, spring blooming shrubs that flower on old growth should be cleaned up after the first bloom (such as lilacs). By contrast, several late-spring and summer-blooming shrubs bloom only on new growth (like roses), and should be pruned in early spring or late fall when dormant for best results. For hedges, time their pruning as they are just coming out of dormancy. The new growth they produce will then have time to fully harden by winter.
Don’t Forget Your Gutters!
Cleaning out your gutters should be a regular part of your fall clean up routine. Ice dams were a major problem in Calgary last spring, and many could have been avoided by making sure all leaves and debris had been removed. Ice dams occur when water can’t drain from your eaves into your gutters, and ends up being pushed back up your roof and seeping under your shingles. This situation can result in significant and costly structural damage. While other factors, such as inadequate attic insulation, contribute to ice dams, they are often caused or worsened by clogged roof drainage pathways.
Calgary Snow Removal Services
Come winter Mirage Landscaping in Calgary works through the “off season”, performing snow removal services for our commercial and residential clients. As always, we offer free price quotes on every service we provide to our clients. If you live in the Calgary area, you should call us and see what we can do for you this fall.